The Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society plans to submit a new grant application to Canadian Heritage by the end of this week.The federal money will be used to help cover the cost of the proposed Strand Theatre restoration project.
Renaissance Brandon representatives said if the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society wants another extension on its $474,000 grant for the Strand Theatre restoration, it had better have a good reason to present it to the board.
"They would have to come and appear before the board again and they would need the support of what they have done since the last rejection letter was received," Renaissance Brandon downtown specialist Braden Pilling said.
"They would need a concrete plan on how they are going to obtain this and in what time frame.
"I wouldn’t say there’s absolutely no way, but there would have to be pretty significant progress or support for requesting an additional extension."
Pilling said if the BFMAS has secured the required funding from other sources for the restoration project, last estimated to cost approximately $4 million, by Dec. 31, the Renaissance Brandon grant would be honoured. If not, Pilling said the board probably would "entertain the discussion" of the BFMAS request for another extension.
"We’d give them that courtesy, but again, maybe they say they’re done if they don’t get the next one," Pilling said. "They would need to put a pretty strong case forward to get another extension."
The grant extension could be required because the BFMAS has not yet resubmitted its grant application to Canadian Heritage. A previous application for $1.8 million from the federal government was rejected in March. BFMAS artistic director Shandra MacNeill said there are plans to submit the new application by the end of this week.
"There are two or three of the user group statements from last year that we are trying to track down because people are on holidays," MacNeill said. "As soon as we get those, we’ll be ready to go."
She added and federal government may not need as much time to evaluate the merits of a request they were already familiar with.
"We are submitting extra material with the application, not a whole new application," MacNeill said, "They said it could take less time but until we hear from them, that’s all we have to go on."
The questions about granting the BFMAS an grant extension have been raised as far back as 2010.
"How long do you wait with that much money for any project?" then mayor and Renaissance Brandon board member Dave Burgess said. "To have money allocated or earmarked … so that we end up having a problem with a very major project (that is) very warranting of support from the committee and then we can’t because our hands are tied. That’s something I’m concerned with."
MacNeill said she would keep Renaissance Brandon informed of the progress of their application and noted "Of course we still want (the grant)."
"Ren Brandon was the first to really support this project, so yeah. Their ongoing support of this project is very important to us," MacNeill said.
When the initial grant was rejected by letter on March 14, then Renaissance Brandon chairman, Coun. Corey Roberts had expressed shock that he wasn’t informed of what happened to the BFMAS grant proposal until late April, six weeks after the letter was sent.
"Nobody likes to be surprised," Roberts said. "We are there to work with and I just hoped that it wouldn’t have come as such a surprise as that."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 21, 2012